Friday 14 December 2018

Palace boss Roy Hodgson plays down significance of West Ham clash

Roy Hodgson's Palace side face a big game against West Ham
Roy Hodgson's Palace side face a big game against West Ham

Roy Hodgson has hit out at football's sack culture and dismissed the notion of "must-win games" ahead of Saturday's crucial Premier League clash with West Ham.

Palace boss Hodgson admitted he cannot fathom managers being given a match limit to save their job - or the idea of games a team cannot afford to lose.

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has been said to be just games away from dismissal on a number of occasions across his east London tenure, a scenario that leaves Palace chief Hodgson nonplussed.

"Are you asking me if I understand having two matches to save your job? No I don't understand it," said Hodgson.

"Managers are either good enough to be running their teams or they're not.

"The slings and arrows of fortune that will either see you win the game or lose the game, if it's as simple as the fact that one's competence as a manager will be decided by that, I don't understand that.

"Clubs should be able to work out whether their current manager is the right man for the job, and then accept there will be periods in the season where the team will be winning or losing."

Palace prop up the Premier League table with just one win from nine matches, but Hodgson remains unfazed on the task ahead.

West Ham saw off Spurs 3-2 in the Carabao Cup in midweek but have just two Premier League wins themselves - but Hodgson shrugged off the suggestion of any rising pressure in facing another struggling outfit.

"I don't understand 'must-win games'," said Hodgson. "I don't know how you get a team to win the must-win games.

"The only way you can win a must-win game is if you're good enough.

"At the moment there aren't that many teams that will go to Barcelona and beat them at the Nou Camp, whether it's a must-win game or not.

"So I don't understand must-win games."

Palace's fringe players lost out 4-1 in a humiliating defeat at Bristol City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

Hodgson insists that setback will not dent the morale of his front-line players, however, demanding that his top stars now build on their recent Premier League win over Chelsea.

"The fans are very entitled to be upset and as a manager I feel responsibility for that," said Hodgson of Tuesday's loss at Bristol City.

"But as far as the team that played against Chelsea and Newcastle are concerned, there's been no effect on their morale whatsoever."

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